IS IT FAIR TO SAY TO YOUR SPOUSE, “THIS IS JUST THE WAY I AM” WHEN IT COMES TO A NEGATIVE CHARACTER TRAIT?
Is there a way to change negative character traits in ourselves–and even in those around us? I’m not talking about personality differences, where we may clash on different things. I’m talking about negative character traits where we tend to show selfishness, immaturity, or something else that makes life difficult for those around us.
As we’re talking about growth in marriage this month, and specifically this week about how to talk to your spouse if something is bugging you, I thought we’d continue with this theme with an extra post looking at how to change negative character traits. Really, that’s just a fancy way of talking about another concept: GROWTH. Changing a negative character trait is simply growing as a Christian and a human being.
LIFE IS SUPPOSED TO BE CHARACTERIZED BY GROWTH–NOT STAGNATION WITH OUR BAD CHARACTER TRAITS.
We’re supposed to get increasing victory over sin. We’re supposed to get more mature. We’re supposed to gain greater insight, greater patience, greater wisdom.
Unfortunately, often we use the language of love in marriage to make it sound like wanting your spouse to grow, or wanting you to grow, means that you don’t really love them. “If you loved me, you’d accept me, and this is part of who I am!”
But I think of it in a different way. If I love Keith, I want him to be the best that he can be. I want him to live out God’s purpose for his life. I want him to thrive, to excel, to do the things that God has planned for him. And that means that I want him to grow!
And I also know that part of loving Keith means that I need to grow as well. I need to become more loving, more patient, more kind. I need to be the best that I can be, and run after Jesus as much as possible, because that’s part of my wedding vow.
I promised that I would love and cherish and honour him, and the way that I do that is by treating him as well as I can. And the only way to treat him well is to deal with my own negative character traits.